Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Sematext Blog, Xenia von Wedel, Jason Bloomberg

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Wars: Why History Will Repeat Itself

The most important thing is to determine what the right use cases are for your organization to adopt cloud

Battles over formats and standards in the technology industry aren't new. Whether it was e-mail, word processing, graphical images or even some more current like the apps on your smart phone, each new innovation typically starts out somewhat proprietary and incompatible.

Today we live in a world where a lot of those battles have been fought and won while some are only starting to heat up. Formats tend to resolve themselves through standards so that things like e-mail and web pages "just work." That or at a minimum the technology we use evolves and hides it all from us via various forms of automatic conversion. In a world where so many technologies seem to get along - why shouldn't clouds? The answer isn't so simple and, as is often the case, history has a way of repeating itself.

Difference Approaches
Just as email initially emerged inside of private datacenters, so has cloud infrastructure. It was initially based on virtualization technology and, depending on what kind of IT shop was involved, you most likely ended up on VMware if you were trying to make your core datacenter more efficient by virtualizing legacy servers; Xen if you had a significant Linux or Java developer presence where the need to rapidly provision test and develop machines was important; and maybe even Citrix if you were using Metaframe for serving up applications to remote users or thin clients. For some companies, cloud adoption started outside the corporate datacenter inside of the VMware vCloud or Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Different Platforms
These approaches initially evolved into distinctly different virtualization technologies. VMware's vSphere platform grew up in the heart of enterprise data centers so it focuses more on performance, manageability, stability and uptime. Amazon's platform is directed at rapid provisioning of instances that are great for developers and dynamic workloads. While they both promote the concept of virtual machines as the building blocks of their clouds, the formats are very different. Amazon breaks its workloads into images called Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), which contain an operating system image from a limited library, memory and CPU resources. VMware uses a format called a Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) that contains not only the memory, but also a more flexible operating system image that can be based on any x86 and, as you can tell by the name, the disk storage itself. With Amazon's AMI model, any additional storage outside of the operating system image must be kept on a separate disk image on the network using either their S3 or EBS storage solutions. With VMware's VMDK, because the disk is included, you can move everything around. They call this a vApp.

Competitors
It also goes without saying that the war for cloud market share has started and is being waged in earnest. Given the amount of dollars at stake, it makes complete sense. The major players all want their share of the anticipated $241 billion that corporations are predicted to spend in the cloud over the next 9 years (according to Forrester Research). This kind of growth opportunity resembles a land grab of significant size and proportion that fosters only self-serving forms of compatibility.

History Will Repeat Itself
As we now know from the email platform wars, once the bulk of companies picked their initial email standard to implement, the green fields of opportunity started to dry up. As a result, email platform vendors found themselves in a situation where they could only gain market share by taking customers away from each other. This caused them to start offering various forms of migration services. The initial offerings were assistance with your email strategy, which was closely followed by professional services teams that could perform the migration for you. At some point, the professional services teams developed tools to make the migrations easier and those tools ended up being packaged and offered directly to end users.

We are starting to see this trend emerge in the cloud. Most Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers have either a toolkit or a professional service offering that helps customers migrate from one SaaS provider to another. You can see this with Salesforce and Netsuite. VMware and Amazon are no exception. Amazon offers a tool that allows you to convert your VMDK virtual machines into AMI images. VMware has an extensive professional services offering and numerous channel partners that can help an Amazon customer migrate to a vCloud or back to their internal VMware vSphere environment if a customer found themselves locked in to the Amazon cloud.

Interoperability and Open Standards
It's clear that more help is on the way, but there may be some solutions that can help in the short term. The Distributed Management Task Force, also known as the DMTF, is a standards body that represents 160 member companies and organizations and more than 4,000 active participants crossing 43 countries. They have endorsed and are actively promoting the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) standard for Virtual Machines(VMs) and Virtual Applications (vApps). OVF support is the foundation of the VMware vCloud and VMware vSphere 4.1. Workloads can be quickly converted to OVF and then moved or copied between clouds as the needs dictate. This gives the IT department and power users the ultimate flexibility as they begin to adopt a cloud-enabled approach to IT.

Which One Is Best
Choosing the best cloud platform is a lot like deciding to upgrade from a tube television to a flat screen. It can be hard to choose when you see all of the different flat screen television technologies like DLP,LED, Plasma and LCD but once you've made the leap to High Definition, regardless of which technology you chose, it still puts you light years ahead of where you were with your old TV set.

How to Choose
The most important thing is to determine what the right use cases are for your organization to adopt cloud. For some companies that may be to make their existing IT resources more agile and efficient so placing some of the workloads they have already virtualized using VMware into a public vCloud make the most sense. For other companies that may need to perform thousands of calculations on a moment's notice, consuming that capacity from a commodity cloud like Amazon's EC2 might be the best fit. The real key is that this landscape is evolving and changing rapidly. Any workload placed into the cloud should conform to existing IT practices and should be able to be de-provisioned, redirected or moved as the cloud market matures and the understanding of which clouds best fit which workloads becomes clearer.

More Stories By Pat O'Day

Pat O’Day is CTO and co-founder of Bluelock, a certified VMware vCloud Datacenter provider of Virtual Datacenters hosted in the public cloud, and is responsible for commercializing and making the company’s Infrastructure-as-as-Service (IaaS) model a business reality. With almost 20 years of IT infrastructure experience, he holds countless certifications and serves as a technical advisor and conference speaker for industry-leading technology companies including IBM, VMware, F5, Shavlik and LeftHand Networks. He is also the co-founder and former president of the local Association of Internet Professionals and a former board member of the technology peer group for TechPoint, Indiana’s only statewide information technology association.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Fact: storage performance problems have only gotten more complicated, as applications not only have become largely virtualized, but also have moved to cloud-based infrastructures. Storage performance in virtualized environments isn’t just about IOPS anymore. Instead, you need to guarantee performance for individual VMs, helping applications maintain performance as the number of VMs continues to go up in real time. In his session at Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, Product and Marketing at Tintri, sha...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Regulatory requirements exist to promote the controlled sharing of information, while protecting the privacy and/or security of the information. Regulations for each type of information have their own set of rules, policies, and guidelines. Cloud Service Providers (CSP) are faced with increasing demand for services at decreasing prices. Demonstrating and maintaining compliance with regulations is a nontrivial task and doing so against numerous sets of regulatory requirements can be daunting task...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Effectively SMBs and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance requirements. The most recent are Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU's GDPR have Board Level implications. Managing sensitive data protection will likely result in acquisition criteria, demonstration requests and new requirements. Developers, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by incorporating changes. In...
"Coalfire is a cyber-risk, security and compliance assessment and advisory services firm. We do a lot of work with the cloud service provider community," explained Ryan McGowan, Vice President, Sales (West) at Coalfire Systems, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
CloudJumper, a Workspace as a Service (WaaS) platform innovator for agile business IT, has been recognized with the Customer Value Leadership Award for its nWorkSpace platform by Frost & Sullivan. The company was also featured in a new report(1) by the industry research firm titled, “Desktop-as-a-Service Buyer’s Guide, 2016,” which provides a comprehensive comparison of DaaS providers, including CloudJumper, Amazon, VMware, and Microsoft.
"We are an all-flash array storage provider but our focus has been on VM-aware storage specifically for virtualized applications," stated Dhiraj Sehgal of Tintri in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...